I was at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport waiting for a flight to Bangkok last Sunday when I saw this mysterious newspaper ad that occupied the full spread of the paper. It contained a series of photographs of famous celebrities, athletes, actors, and along with "ordinary" and "average" Filipinos. The newspaper ad offered little information except the name of the movement it promoted: Ako Mismo. Since I did not have time to get more information about it, I just shrugged it off and went on a quick 3-day vacation.
As soon as I got back to Manila and opened my RSS aggregator and Facebook, I discovered that the enigmatic campaign I dismissed a few days back was stirring a little controversy. I researched more about it and I learned that the Ako Mismo (which translates to "I myself" in Filipino) is a movement that advocated one's positive contribution to society and encouraged pledges from people who signed-up with the movement. Users who sign-up also get a dog tag bearing the campaign's logo.
The fuss from the Ako Mismo campaign is its credibility. Initially, there was too much mystery that surrounded that campaign that:
- nobody knew who are the real people behind the Ako Mismo campaign
- nobody could find the organization behind the initiative
- the organization's motivation/expertise on the matter was not on the site
- it was hard to contact the people behind it
- it was hard to know why the campaign started
Since the initial problems, the site owners have revamped the site and addressed these issues by providing the information about the campaign's implementors (DDB Cares, the Corporate Social Responsibility of ad agency DDB) and a more user-friendly FAQs page.
With these changes, everything should be OK, right?
If you do some more research, dig deeper and use your critical judgment, there seems to be some loose ends the site's implementors weren't able to address:
- Really, who is behind Ako Mismo? - As early as last month, Edu Manzano (an actor and would-be candidate for the 2010 national elections in the Philippines) has stated that he would be launching a campaign. He explicitly stated his heavy involvement in the Ako Mismo and mentioned an ad agency to get funding. If you look at the Ako Mismo site FAQs, no mention of Mr. Manzano is made.
- Who owns the pledges? As per the site's Terms & Conditions, people don't own the pledges, Ako Mismo does.
- What happens when the site gets hacked/compromised? - According to Ako Mismo, if the site's database gets hacked, they'll "assume no responsibility," and do not guarantee they will stop the data from wandering around.
Look, I'm not saying that the Ako Mismo is a campaign with no credibility. Its intentions are good, in my opinion, and they have launched one of the most intriguing campaigns of the year so far. However, there are just too many obfuscated strings (links to certain personalities, market research, data mining, etc.) for me. For the average user, these may not matter, but for me, they do.
So on Ako Mismo's offer: No thanks, I'm already doing something for the country.
Blog posts about Ako Mismo:
- AkoMismo: Steak served on a black plate
- Ako Mismo Campaign and My Conditional Support
- Ako Mismo: Pop-culture Social Activism
- Another one on “Ako Mismo”
- Ako Mismo Doubts and Concerns
- Ako Mismo!
- Ako Mismo advocacy for change in the Philippines taps Old and New Media
- Popular "Ako Mismo" campaign questioned over privacy
Tags: Ako Mismo